The Shmooze

Yair Netanyahu's Norwegian Girlfriend

By Daniel Treiman

  • Print
  • Share Share

(JTA) — The Israeli media is abuzz over the revelation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 23-year-old son, Yair, is dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman. The pair met while they were both studying at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Netanyahu reportedly chatted with Norway’s prime minister about his son’s relationship at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.

Some religious Knesset members are voicing their dismay over the news. “It’s a big problem,” Shas Knesset member Nissim Ze’ev told The Jerusalem Post. “As the prime minister of Israel and the Jewish people, he must display national responsibility via the values he presents inside his own household. I bet it pains him. Any Jew who wants to maintain his roots wants to see his son marry a Jewish girl. There is no shortage of beautiful, successful girls without sowing in the fields of others.”

It sounds like the 25-year-old woman, Sandra Leikanger, comes from a strongly pro-Israel Christian family. Her older sister lives in Israel and converted to Judaism, a source close to Yair Netanyahu told the Post.

The Israeli news reports on Yair Netanyahu’s relationship note that Benjamin Netanyahu’s own second wife, Fleur Cates, converted to Judaism. (A 1996 Vanity Fair article reported that Cates’ father was Jewish.)

What the reports I have seen fail to note, however, is that Netanyahu’s son is not the first child of an Israeli leader to be romantically involved with a non-Jew.

Indeed, David Ben-Gurion’s own son, Amos, married a woman who converted for him. (Granted, Amos met his future wife a few years before the Israel was established, so his father was not yet prime minister.) And Amos’ son, Alon Ben-Gurion, also married a non-Jewish woman, who reportedly did not convert to Judaism.

There’s a nice account of how Amos broke the news of his marriage plans to his father, and how David Ben-Gurion broke the news to his wife, in Dan Kurzman’s biography “Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: yair netanyahu, norway, israel

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.